Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday follows Hartley, a girl who finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her (with the 'Chastity Queen) and when she goes to his house to confront him about it, she finds the dead body of said chastity queen in his closet. Cue freak out. Then, now ex-boyfriend Josh climbs through her window that night to tell her the police are after him (duh) but that he's innocent (which she already thought, cuz he's a jerk but not the killing type) and to beg her to help him, since she's the only one he can trust (rich, isn't it...) She's pretty angry at him, but agrees to help (gotta love teenage girl logic) and interesting antics ensue.
While I did like this book overall, I had a hard time really believing in Hartley's character. She takes everything that anyone says right at face value. She asks her (now ex) boyfriend if he killed Courtney, he says no — believe. She asks if he sent her a specific text, he says no — believe. She asks their next 'suspect' if he killed her, he says no — believe. I mean, really. Come on. Who is going to just admit that?! No one is just going to admit to the little high school girl that, yes... I killed her, thanks for asking. Whether they ended up being truthful answers or not, it bothered me that she just accepted all their answers as truth.
I had a hard time relating to this book in general. And part of that is because Hartley's character is one I have a hard time relating to. She doesn't really think a lot of things through, and after she finds out her boyfriend has been cheating on her, she's happier being in denial about it. But, I was also really surprised that somehow, the uber self-righteous, pious chastity advocates were considered among the most popular in school. I've never seen that before. Normally, other than their 'groupies', everybody hates those girls... There were also a lot of things during Hartley's 'investigation' that didn't occur to a single character, that I thought would have been one of the first things on my mind. (All the examples of this that I can think of are also spoilers, so I can't specify, but it's there.)
Overall, although I did have some problems with the book itself, it is one that I definitely enjoyed reading. Hartley has that awkward teenage girl thing down pretty solid and there were quite a few scenes where I just had to laugh at her. And I did like her, even if there were times when I didn't quite believe her, or had to roll my eyes at her a bit. It's a fun book, one that I can see a lot of people really loving. I'm kind of middle of the road on it, but I can see where people might really love this one. It has a lot of elements from books that I really loved when I was younger — teenage sleuths, kids figuring out the case where adults have failed, etc — so this is one of those books that might work better for the YA audience it's targeted toward, rather than adults. If this one interests you, go ahead and pick it up, but if the synopsis doesn't instantly grab or interest you, I think it's one I'd probably pass on.